Sunday, 18 February 2018

YOU know the dilemma. You want to live in the centre of Henley, to take full advantage of its excellent shops, transport links, schooling, history and charm.

But you have a growing family to consider. You’re already bursting at the seams, which is why you need to move, and your children will only be crying out for more space in the future, not less.

A house within walking distance of the town centre, with bedrooms for all, at least some parking and more than a postage stamp-sized garden is obviously the ideal.

But in a historical town like Henley, with its higgledy-piggledy properties of the past, the proportions you desire are near impossible to find.

Which leaves you with a choice to make.

Do you move out to one of Henley’s pretty surrounding villages where there is a richer choice of properties on offer that suit a growing family — and promise to make your peace with signing up to a life spent driving everywhere?

Or do you decide to compromise? Who needs a garden after all, right? Why else were bunkbeds invented?

The good news is, you really don’t have to compromise — Henley does in fact have a handful of properties that are dead central and that offer family sized proportions (be it at a cost). The only problem is finding one that’s for sale.

“Centrally located Henley properties that offer four or more bedrooms, and more than one bathroom, with a garden, are notoriously hard to find,” says Huey Thomas at Ballards in Hart Street.

“This is because with a house like this, people tend to stay there for generations. After all, having a house that keeps up with their changing needs, means they have no reason to move.”

Which is why it’s so exciting to find there is one for sale — and it’s brand new to boot.

This week’s star property really is a “forever” family home that offers everything you’d need and more, including being just a five-minute walk from Henley’s mainline train station.

Really? Where on earth can that be, I hear you ask.

Just behind Holy Trinity Church is a “secret” enclave of a private road called Normanstead. Houses here are few and far between and are generally characterful numbers framed by mature trees and with large, leafy gardens.

Right at the end of the road, built on land that was previously part of the gardens of neighbouring properties, is a five-bedroom neo-Georgian property that the developer has christened White Lodge, for obvious reasons.

Unlike a character property, which can come with a host of potentially pricey unknowns, White Lodge offers peace of mind, being built to a high specification combining an inspired blend of traditional and contemporary features.

The house is approached over a brick driveway providing ample parking for several cars and access to the garaging, with automated up and over doors.

Over the top of the garage is an extremely handy self-contained annexe which can be accessed from both the double garage and from outside. On the ground floor is a shower/WC with a first floor open plan kitchen/living/bedroom above.

But enough about the garaging and all its “extended family accommodation” possibilities.

The main house is pretty imposing and offers a pillared entrance portico, which leads into the entrance vestibule and through to a very spacious galleried reception hall with sweeping walnut staircase. This is the very centre of the house, from which every living space unfurls.

The ground floor areas of the house enjoy a combination of porcelain tiled flooring, carpeting and walnut flooring to the dining room.

To the rear south west elevation of the property is the open plan kitchen/breakfast/family room — which is a stunning area filled with light and designed to be an integral part of family life, creating a significant and sociable space.

This Italian Lida Cucina kitchen sets the tone of the house and exudes quality. Kitchen designers choose this brand because it’s an award winning company that specialises in high-end quality products.

Thus, the kitchen has a full range of granite work surfaces together with a central island unit with further storage and breakfast bar area. There are two wall-mounted Siemens ovens with warming drawers, microwave and coffee machine and a five-ring induction hob set into the island unit.

Adjacent to the working kitchen area is an informal dining space and sitting/snug area overlooking the garden and enjoying access on to the garden stone terrace, which wraps around the house.

On the ground floor is also a study — handily placed to the front of the house, for visiting clients. Also to be found on this level are two other beautiful reception rooms — both the magnificent drawing room and dining room have limestone fireplace surrounds with built-in log burners.

On the first floor is a spacious landing area giving access to all the bedroom suites, of which there are four. The spectacular master suite has a dressing room with built-in hanging and shelving and a luxury bathroom and shower room. The guest suite also has an en suite shower room and dressing room and the two further bedrooms have high quality en suite facilities.

The garden is fully enclosed and enjoys a south-westerly aspect. It’s mainly laid to lawn, with raised beds of shrubs and bark chip; but that stone terrace really takes centre stage, being situated immediately to the rear of the house leading from the main living area.

No matter the season or the occasion, having such an outstanding garden will prove invaluable to a growing family.

Indeed, White Lodge offers all this and more, yet you’re still but a five-minute walk from Henley’s mainline train station.

Looking for a long-term family house that ticks the boxes, in the centre of Henley? Job done.

White Lodge is on the market with Ballards at a guide price of £2,495,000. For more information or to book a viewing, call the Henley office on (01491) 411055.

At a glance...

WHITE LODGE, NORMANSTEAD, HENLEY

Bedrooms: four

Bathrooms: four

Reception rooms: two/three, including a spacious kitchen/breakfast/family room

Other: large entrance lobby with central spiral staircase, utility room, study, downstairs bathroom, double garage with annexe over own bathroom and kitchen), large garden, central location

Guide price: £2,495,000

Agents: Ballards on (01491) 411055

Property

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